This week begins with some great news regarding Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint.
T-Mobile confirmed today that it is made some commitments to the FCC as part of its merger. These include mobile 5G and home broadband deployments, the promise to sell Boost Mobile, a commitment not to raise prices. When it comes to 5G, T-Mo says it will cover 97% of the US population with 5G on the low-band spectrum and 75% of the population with 5G on the mid-band spectrum within three years following the close of the merger. As a result, nearly two-thirds of Americans will get speeds of 100 Mbps or more, T-Mo says.
Another commitment from T-Mobile is that it will cover 85% of rural America waiting for 5G on low-band spectrum within three years of the merger closing, with that number rising to 90% in six years. . The operator adds that it intends to get speeds of 100 Mbps or more to 99% of the US population in six years and 50 Mbps or more to 99% of the population, and it says it plans to verify these speeds with driving tests.
On domestic broadband, T-Mobile has committed to market its service to 9.6 million eligible households, of which at least 2.6 million will be rural within three years of the merger closing. Within six years of the merger closing, T-Mobile intends to market its home broadband to 28 million eligible households, including 5.6 million in rural areas.
T-Mobile has also pledged to sell Sprint’s Boost Mobile prepaid business if its merger is approved. T-Mo says he will find a “serious, credible, financially capable and independent buyer” and that the new Boost will have “attractive wholesale arrangements” that include a six-year wholesale MVNO deal. T-Mobile plans to find a buyer for Boost and submit a new MVNO deal to the FCC within 120 days of the merger closing, subject to two 30-day extensions.
Finally, T-Mobile reiterated its commitment to set prices after the merger. The new T-Mobile will offer “the same or better plans at the same or better prices for three years,” including 5G.
T-Mobile says it will submit annual reports on its progress in achieving its 5G and home broadband deployments. For its three- and six-year commitments, T-Mo plans to produce a report that includes drive test data, polygon coverage shapefiles, population and household coverage counts, site listings, marketing figures and executive certifications.
In response to commitments from T-Mobile and Sprint, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has advised whether approved by the FCC:
“In light of the significant commitments made by T-Mobile and Sprint as well as the facts recorded to date, I believe this transaction is in the public interest and I intend to recommend to my colleagues that the FCC l ‘approved. This is a unique opportunity to accelerate the rollout of 5G across the United States and bring much faster mobile broadband to rural Americans. We must seize this opportunity.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr also announced his support of the merger. “I support the combination of T-Mobile and Sprint because Americans across the country will see more competition and an acceleration in the development of fast 5G services,” said Commissioner Carr, adding that the agreement’s commitments are “verifiable and enforceable” and that T- Mobile’s commitment to rural 5G “will help bridge the digital divide”.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is not as enthusiastic about the deal. “We’ve seen this kind of consolidation in the airlines and with the pharmaceutical companies. It has not worked well for consumers ”, said Commissioner Rosenworcel tweeted today. “But now the FCC wants to bless the same kind of consolidation for wireless carriers. I have serious doubts.
Getting the FCC chairman’s backing for the merger is a big deal for T-Mobile and Sprint, but the deal is yet to be done. The Department of Justice is still reviewing the merger and DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim recently said that he hadn’t made up his mind on the matter.
UPDATE: FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly spoke out in favor of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger:
While I generally accept all comments regarding current or potential mergers, I think it is necessary to clarify, at this point, that I am inclined to support the proposed merger by T-Mobile / Sprint, although I do not am not convinced of the necessity of all the newly announced conditions. being proposed.
– Mike O’Rielly (@mikeofcc) May 20, 2019